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March 2007 Archives

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John Travolta Speaks Out Against Global Warming

March 30, 2007 12:25 PM

He says we need to starting thinking about colonizing other planets and building "dome cities."

Dome cities!

"It [global warming] is a very valid issue," Travolta declared. "I'm wondering if we need to think about other planets and dome cities.

"Everyone can do their bit. But I don't know if it's not too late already. We have to think about alternative methods of fuel.

Here is John Travolta's house in Florida:

 John Travolta

Everyone do their bit to help, now!

Finally, a good use for that ridiculous Jesus statue north of town

March 29, 2007 11:24 PM

A photograph, from Mark Daniels' blog, via Ann Althouse.

Go Bucks!

Yes folks, that is the Jesus statue that rises out of the man-made lake outside of the Solid Rock Church in Monroe.  The statue is sixty-two feet of fiberglass and styrofoam on a metal frame, and overlooks a baptismal pool.  Naturally, it is all up against the interstate.  You can read more, and see more pictures, here.  Some believe it has reduced highway deaths.  Others, myself included, believe is scares children away from religion.  It is truly hideous.  Though I do like driving by it, rolling my eyes, and muttering "Jesus."  I do that even if no one else is in the car.

Is the Cincinnati "Please" Dead?

I'm still working my way through the history of Cincinnati that I have been reading.  It's The Serene Cincinnatians, by Alvin F. Harlow.  It's from the '50's and is part of the "Society in America" series.  It's hysterical. 

Anyway, in one of the many passages about the German wave of immigration in the Nineteenth Century, the author talks about the Cincinnati "Please":

But to this day, if someone is Cincinnati does not catch your last remark, he or she is apt to say, "Please?"  -- the "Bitte?" which a German would say, politely requesting repetition.

Well for one thing, I never knew that the Cincinnati "Please" was tied to the German "Bitte," but it is not very surprising.  I had one German grandparent (German Swiss) who died before I was born.  Everyone else was of English stock.  So I didn't hear the Cincinnati Please growing up, but I did hear it outside the house. 

And my reading got me thinking... when WAS the last time I had heard the Cincinnati "Please?"  I have memories of hearing it as a child.  And I can remember it being part of various conversations about regionalisms growing up.  People from outside the Cincinnati area always thought it was a very unique thing to say, and it was unique enough to be remarkable.  No one could believe that "please," in and of itself, could be a question.  But it was.  And it was so much better than "whuh?" or "huhhh?" which is what one hears now.

I haven't heard the Cincinnati Please in years, though.  I am sure it still persists, especially with some of the oldsters of German immigrant stock.  But among younger people, the Cincinnati "Please" is dying out, and in a few years, I'm sure it will be gone altogether.  It's a pity.  Regionalisms are charming, fascinating, and so grounded.

Resolved: The next time someone says something I can't hear, I'm going to say "Please?"

Don't these people know about the "date sweep"?

That's when you run around the house picking things up, in case your date winds up inside.  [ed. your house, that is].  I guess some folks don't know about this basic rule, because their homes aren't "relationship ready."  In extreme cases, would-be suitors are scared away.

Check out the problems of Albert Podell, a lawyer in New York:

Last year, Mr. Podell, a 70-year-old lawyer, gave N.Y.U. Law School $2.9 million. He goes out four nights a week, to the opera, symphony or theater. He is well read. He says he has traveled to 162 countries.

Then comes that magic evening when the woman is ready to go back to his place.

“It’s totally unchanged, like it was when I went to law school in 1973, a time warp,” Mr. Podell says of his small one-bedroom in SoHo, a description that seems plausible, given the hot pink living room with the futon seating and the fraying contact paper on the kitchen cabinets.

Oh no!

All these things have proved detriments to love, but none so effectively as his sheets. Mr. Podell likes the ones from the ’60s and ’70s that tell a story: sheets with intergalactic battles or pink hippopotami or the Beatles. Since these are no longer available in adult-bed sizes, Mr. Podell’s sheets are now 30 to 40 years old.

Are we supposed to feel sorry for him?  Because he sounds completely self-absorbed and immature.  Chicks don't like gross things, Albert.  It's not too late to learn that lesson.

It's not always men who are the problem.  Matt Heindl has a terrible experience at a date's apartment,

As he entered her apartment, a free-flying parrot relieved itself on his head. Then a large rabbit darted out from somewhere and licked his feet. A baby gate separated a second rabbit from the first — there had been a nasty penis-biting episode, his date explained. Also, the kitchen wall was covered with antique egg beaters, which looked to Mr. Heindl like weird tools.

That would be a bit off-putting, to say the least.  I once took a date to the annual law firm picnic.   We usually rent a petting zoo to come and entertain the kids, and one of the rabbits defecated on my date.  We did not go out again.  I think you are "on notice" of potential rabbit defecation when you insist it is so cute that it cannot be put down.  I am still surprised there is another school of thought on this.  Oh well, things have all worked out for the best!

Things worked out for Matt, too.  He ended up marrying the girl with the parrot who shat on him, and now they have a baby: 

“I seriously thought, ‘Shall I run? No, I like her, I like her, I’ll check it out,’ ” he says. “I thought about it, I asked myself, ‘Why are you doing this?’ and I decided it showed she can really nurture, because one was like a really old rabbit, a geriatric rabbit. And she baked, obviously.”

So there really is someone out there for the geriatric rabbit nurturing bakers.

What not to say when you are trying to get a court to hear your case

March 28, 2007 08:58 AM

I had to laugh when I read this in a Motion for Discretionary Review that was filed recently with the Supreme Court of Kentucky:

This Court should grant this motion in order to clean up what have become the Augean stables of Kentucky job discrimination jurisprudence...

In other words, Kentucky Supreme Court, your rulings are shitty.  Not exactly the best thing to say to a Court when you are trying to get them to rule your way. 

The way the attorneys try to convince the Court that their gender discrimination case is unique also made me laugh.  They try to distinguish it from age discrimination cases, stating:

Age discrimination cases are different, because everybody gets old.  Females, on the other hand, always are females.  They never become males, or start out that way, absent radical surgery.

If I had any faith in the Supreme Court of Kentucky (and I do not) I'd say this appeal is doomed.

Could it really be Sinsnahta?

March 27, 2007 10:14 PM

I was astounded to read recently in a book about Cincinnati (which was published in 1950) that an issue I have often wondered about has been around since, well, forever: Why the hell do some people pronounce the name of the City wrong? 

Well, it turns out that no less a personage than John Cleves Symmes wrote to a friend in New Jersey in 1791, asking:

I beg, Sir, you will inquire of the literati in Jersey whether Cincinnata or Cincinnati be most proper. The design I had in giving that name was in honor of the Order of Cincinnati, and to denote the chief place of their residence; and so far as my little acquaintance with cases and gender extends, I think the name of a town should terminate in the feminine gender where it is not perfectly neuter....  I have frequent combats in this country on this subject, because most men spell it with ti, when I always do with ta.

Okay, for one thing, I just love how this pioneer was writing to the Latin scholar literati (in New Jersey, of all places!) for guidance about to terminate the feminine gender where it is not perfectly neuter.  This was 1791.  This place was the wild outskirts of the unexplored West back then.  The natives were restless and the white man had arrived here with nothing.  Except, apparently, a strong grounding in the classics.  Who knew that getting the Latin right was such a priority?

But anyway, seeing this question raised by John Cleves Symmes just about knocked me out of my leather wingback chair.  If I smoked a pipe, it would have fallen right out of my mouth, and burned a hole in my smoking jacket.  John Cleves Symmes pronounced the name of the city with a "ta" at the end!  I can't believe it. 

For those who aren't from here, you should know that there have always been people who pronounce Cincinnati with a "ta" sound at the end.  In fact, I think it is safe to say that there are certain, well, "class distinctions" when it comes to the whole "ta" v. "ti" debate.  Frankly, I always attributed this "debate" to poor education, laziness and tooth decay.  In the "ta" crowd, of course.  I was raised firmly in the "ti" tradition.

But come to find out, John Cleves Symmes himself thought the "ta" pronunciation to be correct!  Rocked my world.  I wonder if, since Symmes moved to North Bend (on the far West Side) and was buried there, that is why the "ta" tradition has such a hold on the West Side? 

Update on NBS Executive Editor Assistant Publisher Copy Dog Henry

As you may have read here, NBS's mostly companion Henry had a bit of a surgery last week to remove an unidentified foreign object from his shoulder.  His recovery is going well.  The drain came out on Monday, but he still has a hole that leaks blood and fluid.  I continue to be amazed that he was returned to us in a leaky condition, but apparently that's normal.

He spent the weekend hating the E collar, but now that the drain is out, we've discovered that putting an old t-shirt on him keeps him from going after his stitches.  We're not really the dog dress up types, but whatever works.  Now he has freedom of movement, and that has made him a lot more happy.  Mrs. NBS said she thinks our son actually likes wearing clothes.  I say as long as it's not women's underwear, I guess it's okay.  It's a Bush-Cheney '04 t-shirt, actually, and I tried to take a picture of him in it, but the task just proved impossible.  I have a new found respect for people who actually photograph animals and manage to get them in some sort of a pose. 

Still no word on the pathology results.  We're all very curious.

Take the 2008 GOP Primary Straw Poll

So how did NBS vote?

In my acceptable category, I voted for Brownback, Gingrich, Romney and Fred Thompson.  I didn't designate a first choice.  As for Gilmore, Huckabee, Hunter, Tancredo and Tommy Thompson, I know who they all are, but don't know much about them.  My guess is that none of them have a realistic shot if a news junkie like me can't even decide if they are acceptable or not.

Guiliani, McCain and Pataki are all completely unacceptable.  Guiliani would maybe be okay as the VP candidate, but that's it. 

Anna Nicole's Autopsy Results...

March 26, 2007 05:27 PM she had all of the following in her system:

· Trichloroethanol (a sedative and hypnotic)

· Trichloroacetic acid (treatment of warts, including genital warts)

· Diphenhydramine hydrochloride (an antihistimine and sedative)

· Clonazepam (aka Klonopin; used for treating anxiety)

· Diazepam (muscle relaxant, used for treating anxiety, insomnia)

· Nordiazapam (sedative)

· Temazepam (a sedative and hypnotic)

· Oxazepam (a muscle relaxant and sedative)

· Lorazapam (anti-nausea, sedative, muscle relaxant)

Six different sedatives, muscle relaxants and genital wart pills.  It may be $500 million, but I'm still glad I'm not her baby daddy.  What a mess.

Jim Tarbell Suffers "Minor Finger Injury"

March 24, 2007 10:56 PM

Well here's another story to clip and send to my aunt out in Oregon.  A guy she went out with back when they were both in high school--Cincinnati City Councilman Jim Tarbell--got in yet another crime thwarting battle downtown.  This time he threatened to call the cops on an overly aggressive pan-handler, and ended up in a fistfight.

This marks the umpteenth time Jim Tarbell has been in some bizarre confrontation with a criminal, as this article in the Enquirer duly notes.

Come on in, don't mind the blood

So in addition to everything else going on, Chez NBS (formerly known as "Alco Hall," which was the name my friends gave it back in my single days) is on the market FSBO.  So each weekend is spent running around dusting, cleaning, etc., for the hordes of people to traipse through.  This weekend we didn't even bother.  Henry, our black lab and associate editor, spent the night at the vet on Thursday to have some sort of lump removed--they still don't know what, it's off at pathology.  They only know there was a foreign body lodged in his shoulder... but there's no entrance wound, so it's a big Crime Scene: NBS/Unsolved Mystery.  The vet was good, but a little unsure of my sense of humor ("maybe it's his unborn twin!!!", etc. etc).  We'll keep you posted on the pathology results.

In the meantime, Henry was returned to us in an E Collar with his side shaved, hideous stitches and--get this--a drain.  For bloody fluid!  It looks like a big piece of rigatoni hanging off his side.  It's caked with blood and dripping blood.  All over the house.  So we've got all the rugs rolled up, and there are drops everywhere.  If we had wall-to-wall carpet, we'd be screwed.  I slept on the couch last night next to the dog bed, so Henry wouldn't be tempted to climb up on the real bed, which we were unsure he could do anyway.  Of course I woke up around 3:00 and where was Henry?  Sound asleep on our bed, bleeding on the dry clean only bedspread.  Mrs. NBS was off at the hospital, so of course she got to come home to this chaos after having been up all night, and then the phone rang: "We'd love to see the house... is this morning okay?" 

Well sure, why not.  The lady and her agent were very nice, but it was probably the most chaotic household they'd been through.  The only good thing is the E collar keeps Henry from pressing his nose up against the glass on the front door, so we don't have to keep windexing it.

Trying something new with the comments

March 23, 2007 08:02 PM

Well it's another Friday night, and I ain't got nobody.... just thousands more spam comments to delete to unfreeze the blog.  I think I've found a way to prevent this, and I've changed some of the commenting specifications.  I'm not sure how these changes will actually affect things, though. 

If anyone has difficulty commenting, email me at admin @  Hope you have a spam free weekend.  And if any of you actually want Levitra from Mexico or a mortgage re-fi, I've got plenty of folks to refer you to.

UPDATE: Well, that didn't work.  Even my own comments were tagged as junk and put in the junk mail folder.  I'll keep trying to come up with a fix.  Onward and upward.

Some good news...

...they've arrested the dog beheading freak from out west.  This was the guy who sent it in a box to the dog's 17 year old owner. 

Police said the man they arrested lived a few blocks from Crystal and may have had a romantic interest in the girl.

Lock him up!

Locally, police have a "person of interest" in the dog-boiled-alive case from Butler County, but they are looking for more evidence.  There's a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.  I thought this was sweet:

Vickey Steier, Butler's chief animal control officer, said one woman called, apologizing that $15 was all she could afford to offer for the reward money. But Steier told the woman that every donation helps.

We need to find this guy and lock him up too.

Mom My Ride

March 21, 2007 05:12 PM

Yet another reason to dislike John McCain...

...he's asked Mike DeWine to head up his campaign in Ohio.  Doesn't McCain realize that the party base absolutely despises Mike DeWine?

And why does McCain think DeWine can get Republicans to turn out for him, when DeWine couldn't even turn out the vote for himself?

A Day in the Life of NBS... I've got a sister up at Christ giving birth and a 95 year-old great aunt 'round the corner at Deaconess in her waning days (hours?).  Both hospitalizations happened within moments of the other.  The life and death imagery is pretty hard to ignore when it all occurs on the same day.  The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.  Etc. Etc.  "I am the resurrection and the life."  Etc. Etc. 

And yes, I know there's big news today in the Episcopal/Anglican crack-up.  Someone else has already said what I think about it, so if you're looking for that, go here

This Week, In Up Against the Wall

March 20, 2007 11:13 PM

We have another wedding announcement from The New York Times.  Who would have thought we'd top the "Quest for the Holy Gayle" of a Marriage Proposal from a few weeks ago.  But we have!

Meet Rona Shalev and David Kraut.  Rona has a PhD in school clinical psychology from Yeshiva, and her mom started a kosher dessert catering business.  David is an attorney at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York, the son of a nephrologist, and a big fan of "24."

Too big of a fan.  But we'll get to than in a minute.  For his proposal:

“I wanted to do something interesting and fun, but I didn’t want a public spectacle like proposing in Yankee Stadium,” he said.

No.  That would be stupid! 

Furthermore, he wanted to use a song he had written about her, so he decided to assemble a slide show of photographs taken at various junctures of their relationship and incorporate it into that. In the project, he sang the song and accompanied himself on the piano.

Can you imagine how awful that song must have been?

But it was not the only music. “We both enjoy the show ‘24,’ ” he said. “So I spoofed the format of the program and played the show’s theme music in the background.”

Wait, I thought he was singing?

He took her to his apartment, explaining that he had to dress for a dinner they had planned with his parents and that while she waited, she could watch an episode of “24” that she had missed.

“He kept insisting that I had to watch it,” she said. “Even when I saw the dates that it took place — Feb. 7, 2005, to April 22, 2006, which reflected the time we met to the time I was sitting there on the couch instead of the usual times listed on the show — I didn’t realize that it was not a real episode. Then it cut to a scene at his office and I thought, ‘That looks like David’s office,’ but nothing hit me. Then I saw picture of the restaurant where we went on our first date and it hit me.”

Rona works with sloooooow leaaaarrrnneeeeerrrrrrrrs.

At the end, the screen went black and an announcement came on, saying, “Report to the situation room.”

He calls his bedroom "the situation room"???

Mr. Kraut, who was waiting in his bedroom, got down on one knee and proposed. After [ed. after!!!] proclaiming that she was nervous, sweaty and nauseated, she accepted and they went to a restaurant where his parents, and hers, were waiting.

Well, I can understand the "nauseated" part.

Passed on without comment

Animal Rights Group Says Baby Polar Bear Must Die

Meet Knut:

Yes, he's a real live baby polar bear, even though he looks stuffed.  He was born three months ago in the Berlin Zoo.  His mother rejected him, and the zoo keepers have been feeding him by hand.

At three months old, however, the playful 19lb bundle of fur is at the centre of an impassioned debate over whether he should live or die.

Animal rights activists argue that he should be given a lethal injection rather than brought up suffering the humiliation of being treated as a domestic pet.

"The zoo must kill the bear," said spokesman Frank Albrecht. "Feeding by hand is not species-appropriate but a gross violation of animal protection laws."

Yes, you read that right.  The animal rights activists say that to save Knut, he must be killed.  This way, he won't be "humiliated."  It makes perfect sense!

Wanted: A Life for this Chubby Chick

Bong Hits 4 Jesus

Yes, the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case has finally arrived before the Supremes:

Alaska high-school student Joseph Frederick hoisted his 14-foot "Bong hits 4 Jesus" banner to get on TV....  Frederick wanted to annoy school administrators, and he wanted media attention, and as we discovered today, he chose well on both fronts. He was suspended for 10 days.

So of course, he sued, and now his free speech case is pending before the highest court in the land.  His parents must be so proud.

I still remember my Con Law prof from college talking about Cohen v. California.  He began class with the proscribed speech from that case with a dramatic "F*** the Draft!"  He was old and very crusty, so this was a surprise.  It was memorable.

We'll see if "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" has the same staying power.

I have come to hate Movable Type...

March 19, 2007 10:05 PM

...but love Jackie Danicki.

So the past two weeks here at NBS has been a nonstop fiasco with the comments section.  I continue to get several thousand spam comment posts per day, and if they pile up, the whole site grinds to a halt, and I can only delete one of them at a time.  I spent hours over the weekend trying to get them all deleted.  It was a nightmare.

And then tonight, I had a great post drafted and Movable Type lost the whole thing.  So damn frustrating.  Now you may never hear how thrilled I am to have discovered Jackie Danicki's blog, and that someone of her caliber has decided to relocate to Cincinnati.  It says such great things about our City, and I can't say enough great things about her blog and her writing ability.  She used to write for Television Without Pity!  She knows Cathy Seipp!  She hysterically describes Al Gore's new book "An Assault on Reason" as akin to Paris Hilton writing a book called "An Assault on Modesty"!

But those passing praises will have to suffice for now.  Go check her out for yourself.  And thanks for profiling her, Joe.

And if anyone reading this has contemplated starting a blog, stay away from Movable Type. 

Where are the damages?

Does anyone really believe that P&G suffered $19,000,000 worth of damage to its reputation because four Amway distributors told people it was affiliated with the Church of Satan?

That's the price a jury has put on it, ending a 12 year legal battle.  I can remember being told the urban myth that P&G is satanic way back in elementary school.  Per Wikipedia,

The accusation is based on a particular passage in the Bible, specifically Revelation 12:1, which states: "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars." Since P&G's logo consists of a man's face on a moon surrounded by thirteen stars, some have claimed that the logo is a mockery of the heavenly symbol alluded to in the aforementioned verse, and hence the logo is Satanic. Where the beard meets the surrounding circle, a mirror image of 666 can be seen when viewed from inside the logo, and this has been interpreted as the reflected number of the beast, again linked to Satanism. Also, there are two horns like a lamb that are said to represent the false prophet.

Did anyone actually believe that crap, and not buy P&G products because of it?


Do NOT fill out the entry form to try to win that BMW at Kenwood Towne Centre.  They'll just keep calling you, to tell you that even though they haven't raffled off the car yet, you have "won a free trip to Orlando" (Gee, great.  ORLANDO).

There's "no purchase necessary to claim your prize," you just have to sit through some travel presentation.  NO THANK YOU.  Wasting valuable time listening to some crappy sales pitch is a "purchase necessary."

Coming to a theater near you

This is Oak Hill, the cottage in North Haven, Maine, where the heirs of Thomas J. Watson, Sr., founder of I.B.M., spend their summers:

Not too shabby, is it?  Well, it and the I.B.M. family trusts are embroiled in a huge lawsuit:

It concerns Olive F. Watson, 59, granddaughter of the I.B.M. founder and daughter of Thomas J. Watson Jr., the company’s longtime chief executive; and Patricia Ann Spado, 59, her former lesbian partner of 14 years.

Lots of money and a racy family scandal!  Let's read on!

In 1991, Ms. Watson, then 43, adopted Ms. Spado, then 44, under a Maine law that allows one adult to adopt another.

Does that sound like it was well thought through?  No, of course not:

But less than a year after the adoption, Ms. Watson and Ms. Spado broke up. Then in 2004, Ms. Watson’s mother died, leaving multimillion-dollar trusts established by her husband to be divided among their 18 grandchildren.

Guess who re-appeared on the scene after grandma died?  Yes, the "adopted" ex-lesbian lover from some years prior: 

Re-enter Ms. Spado with a claim: Because she was adopted by Olive F. Watson, she said, she is technically Thomas J. Watson Jr.’s 19th grandchild and is therefore eligible for a share of the trusts.

Of course, Grandpa didn't even know about Ms. Spado when his trust was set up.  But why should that stop her from claiming she's his grandchild?

And, to complicate matters even more, in the past few years Olive Watson has adopted again--children, this time.  And she claims those children are proper adoptees and trust beneficiaries.  But not the lesbian ex from 15 years ago.  Go figure.

The Maine and Connecticut courts have to figure it all out.  In the meantime, it should make for some interesting family conversations at Oak Hill.

Evil beyond belief

March 15, 2007 02:21 PM

From CNN:

After Crystal Brown's 4-year-old Australian shepherd mix, Chevy, wandered away last month, she put up "missing" posters in her neighborhood and went door to door looking for him. She called the St. Paul animal shelter and rode the bus there several times.

"I felt empty," Crystal told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis. "I couldn't talk to anyone. He was my dog. It was just me and him. ... I told him everything and he never shared any of my secrets."

Two weeks ago, a gift-wrapped box was left at the house Crystal shares with her grandmother. The box had batteries on top, and a note that said "Congratulations Crystal. This side up. Batteries included."

Crystal opened the box and found her dog's head inside. The box also contained Valentine's Day candy.

Crystal screamed when she saw her dog's face.

"She was just hysterical," said Crystal's grandmother, Shirley Brown. "She was screaming. She said, 'Grandma, it's my dog's head!'

How could anyone be so cruel?

UPDATE:  The Enquirer reports on some similar evils out in St. Clair Township.  What the hell is wrong with people?

How men and women read the web

There's a fascinating article in the Online Journalism Review about an "eyetracking" study of how different people "see" online information... and it turns out that men are fascinated by naughty bits:

When photos do contain people related to the task at hand, or the content users are exploring, they do get fixations. However, gender makes a distinct difference on what parts of the photo are stared at the longest. Take a look at the hotspot below.

Although both men and women look at the image of George Brett when directed to find out information about his sport and position, men tend to focus on private anatomy as well as the face. For the women, the face is the only place they viewed.


This doesn't just occur with images of people:

Coyne adds that this difference doesn’t just occur with images of people. Men tend to fixate more on areas of private anatomy on animals as well, as evidenced when users were directed to browse the American Kennel Club site.

I don't know what conclusion we are supposed to draw from this, but it can't be good.

"Women, Know Your Limits" ... Funny or Not So Funny?

March 13, 2007 11:16 PM

What Not to Say When Testifying in Your Own Defense, No. 387...

... that the United States is a "terrorist state."  Jurors tend to not like that kind of thing.  But that's what one of the anti-war trespassing protesters did last week at her trial:

Sister Mary Evelyn Jegen returned to the stand, talking about U.S. foreign policy and why she feels obliged to oppose it.

“Weapons of mass destruction — the largest arsenal is on our country,” she said. “When we talk about terror, the United States of America is, in my view, a state terrorist, because we are holding the world hostage to nuclear weapons.

Thank God loons from other denominations come around often enough to make me feel less bad about being an Episcopalian! 

But anyway... as you may remember, I wrote about the anti-war trespassing protesters here, and then was quoted in CityBeat about it, here.  They raised a necessity defense, arguing that their trespassing was necessary to save innocent lives.  Necessity is a viable defense to any criminal charge, but it is typically used in situations where the threat is imminent and actually connected to the Defendants' actions.  Not the case here, though they apparently argued that they believed their sit-in at Congressman Chabot's office would stop the war in Iraq.  Is it too uncharitable to say this was a stupidity defense and not a necessity defense? 

The protester's were convicted of trespassing earlier today.  The jury didn't buy the necessity defense.  Frankly, I'm surprised the Judge even allowed them to argue it.  At least he quashed their ridiculous attempt to subpoena Donald Rumsfeld to testify at trial.

The protesters get probation and 20 hours of community service.  They contend that the "real crime" (i.e. the war in Iraq) has gone unpunished.  I think the real crime is that their lawyers were allowed to present meritless arguments before the Court.  Supposedly that is an ethical violation, warranting attorney discipline by the bar.

Breaking Legal News: D.C. Circuit Rules the 2nd Amendment Applies to Individual Gun Owners...

March 9, 2007 12:04 PM

... and not just members of a "well regulated Militia."  Here's the Court's nice tidy bottom line:

To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad). In addition, the right to keep and bear arms had the important and salutary civic purpose of helping to preserve the citizen militia. The civic purpose was also a political expedient for the Federalists in the First Congress as it served, in part, to placate their Antifederalist opponents. The individual right facilitated militia service by ensuring that citizens would not be barred from keeping the arms they would need when called forth for militia duty. Despite the importance of the Second Amendment's civic purpose, however, the activities it protects are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual's enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued or intermittent enrollment in the militia.

No court this high has ever gone this far--and it's exactly what gun owners were looking for.  The next stop is with the U.S. Supremes, unless the D.C. Circuit decides to review it en banc.

You can read the whole opinion (it is 75 pages) here.  If you forget what the Second Amendment says, here it 'tis:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Expect ample, befuddled news coverage and hand-wringing on the left.  And, enjoy this image of the NBSes at home on a typical Friday night.


If you make $115,000 per year...

...and donate $55,000 to charity, the IRS gets suspicious.  Even if it's all clothes, and even if you raise "impulse shopping" as your defense:

Petitioner describes herself as an “impulsive buyer” whose annual expenditures for clothing and shoes might be deemed by some to be rather extravagant.  Furthermore, it appears that her wardrobe is constantly changing. According to petitioner, she routinely purchases designer clothing and shoes, wears the items once or twice, and then donates them to an upscale thrift shop in New York.

Petitioner gets points in my mind for having the gall to try this. 

King of the Hill on Church Shopping

March 8, 2007 11:27 PM

Tree Hugging Lawyer Whack Job

Over at Above the Law, NBS friend David Lat has posted this hysterical pleading filed by Alison "Sunny" Maynard, who is a former Green Party Candidate for Attorney General of Colorado.  Naturally (get it "naturally"?) she wasn't elected, so she's still in private practice.  And in this case, she's representing an environmental group called the Citizens Progressive Alliance, and asking for an extension of time because she blew a deadline.  Which is usually considered legal malpractice.

Check out the reasons she gives for blowing the deadline.  No, that's not usually what you want to tell the tribunal and leave in the official record.  Nor is it common practice to use smiley face emoticons in your pleadings.

Make sure you scroll down through the comments over at Above the Law.  David doesn't identify Ms. Maynard at first, and then some commenters out her.  She then chimes in herself with a hilarious, indignant, and ridiculously lengthy retort.  Too funny.

inebriation excusable neglect motion 1.jpg

A word on the comments

March 7, 2007 03:39 PM

No, I don't know why the comments aren't working.  I do know that I have gone through the approved comments file, and deleted over 500 that were spam.  In the unapproved file, I've just discovered 2,000 more.  They're mostly ads for cialis or mortgage re-fis. 

I used to go through both these files once a day, to stay on top of things.  I've been so busy that it has been more than a week.  Since you can only delete them in blocks of 20, I've decided the last 2,000 are best tackled with a glass of wine in hand.  So that will have to wait until this evening.

If comments still aren't working after I've cleaned things up, I'll try to figure out what else could be causing the problem.

UPDATE: It appears the problem has been solved.  I'm still going to have that glass of wine, though.

UPDATE NO. 2:  It looks like we are still having problems--can't figure out why.  Please be patient.  NBS is growing very tired of Moveable Type. 

You know you're over-educated when...

... a Washington Post article about a popular new plastic surgery--Designer Laser Vaginoplasty--reminds you of Robert Frost (1874-1963).  From his 1915 poem "Mending Wall"

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.

Dr. 90210 should use this poem in his promotional materials. 

Advice to lawyers appearing before the U.S. Supreme Court...

...take a deep breath, and pretend they're not wearing any shoes.  They actually might not be! 

The New York Times has this explanation for why Justice Ginsberg was slow to her feet after oral arguments last week:

According to her chambers, Justice Ginsburg had kicked off her shoes during the argument and could not find one of them.

Now that would be embarrassing.  You'd think her chambers could come up with a better "explanation" than she couldn't find her shoe.

Ohio considering green license plates for sex offenders...

... we already have red and yellow ones for multiple DUI offenders.  I've only seen a handful of them since the legislation was enacted a few years ago.

But a green sex offender license plate certainly would be more memorable.  And I was amused by this line from The New York Times:

A 2005 bill that called for pink license plates for all sex offenders failed after critics deemed it too harsh and Mary Kay Cosmetics and advocates for breast cancer research objected to the color.

Pink was "too harsh"?  Perhaps it was the sex offenders who didn't want to be confused with the Mary Kay reps, rather than the other way around?

Ready for summer

March 6, 2007 12:21 AM

It's amazing what you get when you google.  A longtime NBS friend has a Flickr slideshow up that is a tribute to Neahtawanta 2006--NBS's summer stomping ground. 


I don't care if it is old news. It is basketball season and I still love this video.

March 5, 2007 10:55 PM

This week, in "Up Against the Wall"

We have Gayle Greenberg and Matthew Slonim.  She's an Assistant V.P. for Marketing at L'Oreal Paris in New York.  He's the son of a lawyer "who owns a law firm in New York bearing his name."  Naturally, they made the Vows column of The Times, and landed this week's coveted big write-up.

Ms. Greenberg and Mr. Slonim met in July 2003, and within two years they had begun having what Ms. Greenberg described as “heated discussions” about how and when he would propose to her. “He told me, ‘I will hand you a ring over dinner,’ and I said, ‘You have to say nice stuff, too. You can’t just hand me a ring,’ ” she said, recalling her frustration with the pace of the relationship. “He acted like he didn’t understand the process.”

Well you know what?  He still doesn't understand the process.  Check out his ridiculous "Quest for the Holy Gayle" of a marriage proposal:

When Ms. Greenberg woke up on April 29 last year, she found an envelope, entitled “The Quest for Yes,” tucked into her cellphone.

The note instructed her to pack a bag, take a glass of orange juice to her doorman and ask him for the mail.

Tiresome and annoying, and this is only Act I.  Here's Act II:

The mail revealed another clue: Go for a jog to the park bench in Central Park that had been donated by his parents. At the bench was a clue that sent her back home “to the place where George Foreman rests his head.”

George Foreman grills are not romantic or mysterious, and neither is the cringe-inducing demand that she jog in Central Park until she finds the bench that was donated by his parents.  But anyway,

Behind a George Foreman grill was a bag containing her favorite cupcakes and another note. Next, she was directed to shower, dress and go down to the street where a driver waited to take her to “a major destination named after a dead president.”

Would any sane person not be completely annoyed at this point?  Girl must be desperate to get married.  (Yep, just confirmed it from the Vow's Column itself.  Gayle's 34).

On the way to Kennedy Airport, Mr. Slonim had instructed her to look inside the travel backgammon set she had been told to pack. It contained a confirmation number for a Delta Airlines flight.

Get it?  Kennedy Airport.  It's a major destination and he's a dead President.  It's so clever!

“The driver said, ‘Where are you going, ma’am?’ and I said, ‘I don’t know,’ ” Ms. Greenberg said. She guessed it was a domestic flight and asked the driver to drop her at the terminal.

I can only imagine how Mrs. NBS would have reacted if she'd been told to pack for an unknown destination with no prior notice.  And had to jog through Central Park first, looking for clues.  Also, I love that "she guessed it was a domestic flight" line.  Aren't they all, Gayle?  Aren't they all?

It wasn’t until she put the number into the ticket dispenser that she learned that the plane was headed to Charlotte, N.C. Once there, Ms. Greenberg was picked up by a driver who took her to the assisted-living home where her 94-year-old grandfather, Ted Greenberg, lives.

Gayle, that retching sensation is not air sickness.  In fact, we're all experiencing it.  Surely the whole "hand the ring over during dinner" idea is looking pretty good right now?

“I thought I had been sent to visit my grandfather and then get another clue,” she said.

When she walked in, she found her grandfather with Mr. Slonim, who had arrived a few hours earlier to chat with him.

“It was very important to her that I meet her grandfather, but I wanted to wait until I was ready to propose,” Mr. Slonim said, adding, “I dropped to one knee and said, ‘Which one of you am I proposing to?’ ”

(1) That doesn't even make sense; and (2) Wouldn't you be totally embarrassed to have this schlock published in The New York Times?

Gayle, it seems, is not:

“All the effort and work that went into the planning gave me the most wonderful, secure feeling,” she said, adding, “it made me fall even more deeply in love with Matt. I was amazed he could pull it all together.”

We're amazed too, Gayle.  He managed to put together a bunch of ridiculous clues, buy you some cupcakes and book a plane ticket to North Carolina.  He's a keeper.

"It's spectacular!"

The Dutch are experimenting with a new idea: nude gyms.

HETEREN, Netherlands (AP) - A dozen middle-age and elderly men were game enough for a Dutch gym's invitation to work out nude. But they were vastly outnumbered by the dozens of journalists watching them lift, row and cycle in the buff.

Why is it that old, unattractive men are the ones who are drawn to this type of thing?  Never any one young and fit, and (much to dismay of an old guy named Henk) never any women: 

No women showed up for "Naked Sunday," even though eight were among the 100 people who had signed up for the event.

"It's always the same - the first ones to shy away are the women. You see that at nudist camps too," said Henk.

Yes, it's a story that's old as the hills.  Women are always the first ones to shy away from naked stationary cycling.  'Twas ever thus.

"We already had naked swimming ... but a gym, that's unique," said one white-haired bespectacled man, who gave only his first name, Henk.

"It's spectacular!" he said, as he pedaled away.

Dying to see a picture of Henk.  No?  Well, too late:

No need to blur the image if you pedal fast enough.  Thanks Henk!  You're spectacular!

NBS's Mom Reports in from CPAC 2007...

March 1, 2007 04:16 PM

... that's the Conservative Political Action Conference in D.C., which my parents are currently attending:

This conference has gotten HUGE! you were ahead of your time! Students galore!  Blogger conferences, training and a blogger corner in the enormous exhibit display.  The place is jammed.  My current choice for president is Tony Snow!!!! I wish he would!

Yes, NBS comes by it honestly.  Conservative by birth, conservative by the Grace of God. 

The CPAC agenda for today also includes roundtable discussions on "Why Are Liberals So Hell Bent on Raising Our Taxes," "Local Action…National Impact: Discover the Secrets of Sam Adams for Real Political Change," and "Are Conservative Judicial Nominees DOA in the Democrat-Controlled Senate?"

And of course, tonight's big headliner is Vice-President Cheney, who will speak during dinner.

If Justice Thomas lets 'em talk about the private tour of the Supreme Court he's giving the 'rents, we'll have all the details on that here at NBS--though it will probably be off the record, so don't hold your breath.  We'll also break in the moment Mom NBS calls to proudly confirm that "Phyllis Schlafly STILL remembers your grandmother."  We get that call every year.  Phyllis Schlafly and my grandmother stopped ERA.  Oh, also communism.

What about owners of fat dogs?

overweight dog

Should a mother lose custody of her 8 year old...

... if he weighs 218 pounds?

Image: Connor McCreaddie and Nicola McKeown